ARLINGTON, Texas – Texas manager Bruce Bochy, who still has room on his hand for a fourth World Series ring, was asked today how he would manage tonight’s game. A game in which his team, leading 2-0 in the best-of-five American League Division Series, can close out the Orioles.
He sounded almost like his team was down 0-2 and not up 2-0.
“Well, all hands on deck,” said Bochy, who won championships with the Giants in 2010, 2012 and 2014. “I'll start with that. It's a short series. Best out of five. Yeah, we have a game, big game tonight. So, we'll use everybody. I think we've shown that already, and we'll continue to do that.
"Don't have a starter for tomorrow because of what I'm saying now. Bench, everybody, pinch-running situations, they'll all be used if I think it's the right thing to do tonight. That's my mentality. I think it's the team's mentality. Hey, be ready. Bullpen, all of them. Any situation.”
It was around this time last year – on Oct. 21, 2022 – that the Rangers hired Bochy, a winner of 2,003 games, out of a short retirement. He would take over a Rangers team that had six straight losing seasons (and just 68 wins last season) and try to get them back to the playoffs, and it happened right away. Bochy had stepped away after the 2019 season and 13 years with San Francisco. His first World Series win came over the Rangers, in five games in 2010.
Texas general manager Chris Young, who once pitched for Bochy in San Diego, hired him to become the Texas skipper.
Bochy several times during this series has discussed how grateful he is to be back in the game.
“Last year, I was at home, doing a little fishing, hitting a few golf balls. Here we are in the postseason," he said. "I'm with a tremendous team here, a bunch of great guys. CY (Young), great front office and, of course, ownership. Ray Davis, who I've said many times provided resources to help us be in this position.
"So I'm having the time of my life. It's good to be here. I'm looking forward to the first postseason game here to see the atmosphere. I'm happy for the community. It's been a while for the fans. We could feel it a little bit the last month as we were fighting our way to get to this position. So we got a little bit of taste of it, but it's good to be home. That was a long road trip."
The Orioles are 5-10 all-time in postseason elimination games, including 4-5 on the road. They are 9-11 all-time in Game 3's, including 6-8 on the road.
In the history of the Division Series, in the 2-2-1 format, teams that lose the first two games at home are 2-14. The two teams to come back from dropping the first two games at their ballpark are the 2015 Toronto Blue Jays, who defeated the Rangers, and the 2001 New York Yankees, who defeated Oakland.
O's players James McCann and Ryan O'Hearn were in the interview room this afternoon at Globe Life Field. Yesterday O'Hearn said he was not ready for this season to end and talked about how much he enjoyed playing with this group of Orioles. Today he was asked how he would channel that and try to take it to the field tonight to play his best game.
"Yeah, I mean, I don't think there's an easy answer to channel it into the game," O'Hearn said. "Every game we play, we're trying to win the game. I said it yesterday and a lot of guys feel that way in the clubhouse. It's a close group. It's guys that are not ready to go home. We want to continue to play.
"So I think just coming out here tonight with a ton of energy, just playing hard, just like we've done all season. There's no secret and the game of baseball can be crazy at times and all these things happen. But I trust our guys, and we've been in these type of situations all year. It anybody can find a way to win and keep our season alive, it would be this group of guys."
Added McCann on the same topic: "I agree 100 percent with what he said. Obviously, this is different because of the playoffs, but we've been in this spot before. We've lost two games in a series and we've bounced right back. I think that's the mindset we have to have today.
"We can't change our mindset. We can't change who we've been for 162 games, the success we've had coming into the playoffs. Just because we're down 0-2 doesn't mean we need to change who we are. Staying true to who we are, having each other's back and go out and play the game hard. See what happens."